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The Book Blogger Awards 2017

Don’t Sit on the Baby!

Baby-Sitting coverThe Franklin-Watts Concise Guide to Baby-Sitting

Submitter: [Here is] a babysitting book from the 70’s. Apparently the going rate then was $0.75/hour, and there are references to sleep-in servants and tie dye jeans, as well as specific reassurance that it is acceptable for female sitters to wear pants.

Holly: My favorite line: “This doesn’t mean you have to dress like a square; it just means that you don’t wear your wildest tie-dyed jeans or your tightest hot pants” (p.42, image below). Then what the heck will I wear?

Boy, that cover is showing every inch of its 45 years, isn’t it? The cover art, the crinkles, and the tape do not help. I do like Tomie De Paola’s illustrations, but they don’t save this book from the weed pile.

An Introduction to Baby-Sitting

How to establish rates

Handling the Parents

13 Responses to Don’t Sit on the Baby!

  • “Is it OK if Tommy’s visits? He’s not my boyfriend, he’s my study partner…”

  • I babysat, as a teenager, in the early 70s, and I’m pretty sure I got a few dollars an hour. I actually took whatever the parents offered! And I never even owned a pair of tie-dyed jeans! T-shirts yes, we dyed them ourselves with Rit dye. I wore what I wore to school. The parents I babysat for knew how I dressed already, they were neighbors. In fact, I got my first babysitting job when the mother next door came to my house to ask if I babysat! I guess my “hot pants” weren’t too hot!

  • While she may be something of a swinger herself
    Oh, dear. I guess the word “swinger” did not have the meaning in 1972 that I thought it did.

    Incidentally, 75¢/hour is spot on, at least for the middle-class small town where I grew up. One of my contemporaries charged 25¢ per child, but most had a flat rate. I remember one three-child family that I had to babysit for 50¢/hour because the struggling single mother was a friend of my own mother–who did not have the decency and/or common sense to quietly slip me the other 25¢ under the table. (As you can see, this still rankles.)

    • Back then, a “swinger” meant someone who was hip and cool — the word was a bit of a holdover from the Sinatra era. Like so many words and phrases, it’s, uh, evolved over the years…

    • In Canada I mostly got $1 an hour at that time, double that on New Year’s Eve. No difference to how many kids, but I never had less than two, usually one in diapers. On the home front, after I told my mom how the babysitter was trying on her clothes, I got the job of babysitting. I was twelve. I got paid a bit (about 50 cents an hour) and my siblings got a quarter each to listen to what I told them to do. Which worked very well. And none of them was in diapers.

  • As a kid in the 70’s and 80’s my babysitters usually were my grandmother or my then-unmarried aunt. But then again, we lived in the country where it was still like the 1940’s.

  • As a child of the 90’s/early 2000’s, I had the American Red Cross and Babysitter’s Club as references. No one I knew ever needed a babysitter.

  • I started baby-sitting outside the family in 1968, and got $0.50/hour. I was 13, but would be left with infants because I was the oldest of 5 and had been taking care of my baby brother (1 year old when I started baby-sitting) in my parents’ absence ever since he was born.

    The advice about people thinking it’s OK to take advantage of the young is entirely correct. Looking back, I do think some people took advantage of me; I particularly remember one father who probably should not have been driving me home. But I loved having my own money, and also the chance to see how other people lived.

  • I love Tommy de Paola’s illustrations so much! That’s clearly the grandma from “Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup,” aka Tommy’s own Nana.

  • I think I’ve weeded this in the last 5-6 years!

  • Love that last page’s lines about “Mrs. Smith” and how she “may be a swinger herself…”